Microsoft Corp. and the Naperville, Ill., Police Internet Crimes Unit To Provide Parents, Teachers With Tools to Teach Kids Internet Safety

CHICAGO, Feb. 17, 1999 — Microsoft Corp., in cooperation with the Naperville Police Department (NPD) and the Illinois State Attorney General’s Office, today launched a Web site designed to help educators and parents teach young children the fundamentals of Internet safety. Microsoft representatives unveiled the Web site to a group of elementary-age students in Naperville, Ill., during a student assembly on Internet safety.

The free Web site, (connect-time charges may apply), is the result of a joint effort between Microsoft and the NPD. The site features a presentation on Internet safety and a teachers training guide. The materials are designed for teachers or parents with various levels of experience using computer technology.

“The Internet is an amazing tool that offers kids today the opportunity to learn, explore and expand their horizons,”
said Beth Jordan, spokeswoman for Microsoft at the assembly.
“When kids are taught the rules of the information superhighway, they are given the keys to one of the safest and most exciting exploration vehicles of our time.”

“We are really proud to be able to assist the NPD on this important project,”
Jordan said.
“It is exciting to see how some people have really embraced this effort, from the voiceover talent provided by Tracy Butler, Emily Barr and Richard Johnson from Chicago’s WLS to the scores of people, like NPD Detective Michael Sullivan, who have dedicated countless hours to this program. All of us share a common goal to make sure that the most exciting and accessible playground for children – the Internet – is a safe place for them to push the boundaries of their curiosity.”

Naperville Mayor George Pradel told the students and teachers at the assembly that the Internet offers tremendous teaching potential for kids today.
“The Internet offers more than just an information experience,”
he said.
“Its interactivity allows kids to explore lands and visit cultures that were merely distant points on a map when we were children.”

“Children’s ability to venture far beyond the confines of their physical neighborhood will have a tremendous impact on their intellectual and personal development,”
Pradel said.
“We have to approach the Internet like any other public place and be sure our children have the skills they need to safely explore their world in cyberspace.”

Naperville Police Chief David Dial encouraged teachers and parents to view the Internet as a big, public electronic playground.
“It is a great place where kids can go to explore, learn and interact with the world – but before you drop them off to play, you have to be sure they know how to stay safe,”
Dial said.

Representatives from the NPD Internet Crimes Unit walked the children through basic Internet safety lessons. Law enforcement officers told the students and teachers that kids today view computers as a fundamental household appliance, much like a telephone. Their parents, however, often do not share their children’s level of understanding about and comfort with technology. The result is that parents assume they have little to offer in terms of teaching their children about technology.

“Sometimes parents and teachers fail to make the connection that using technology requires more than basic computer skills,”
said NPD Detective Juliet Fabbri.

Kids pick up the

technology easily. In fact, their technical prowess develops far faster than their capacity for common sense. It is up to parents to be sure their kids’ skills in both areas mature concurrently. The safest kids on the Internet are those whose parents have invested a little time in making them street-smart.

The Internet safety program presented to the students by the Naperville Police Internet Crimes Unit is available at .
“We are grateful to Microsoft for stepping in and developing a Web site to make these tools available worldwide,”
Sullivan said. He also recommended that people refer not only to the teachers guide but also the speakers notes included in the presentation.
“We wanted to make this as simple and effective as possible. You absolutely do not have to be a computer genius to use these tools effectively.”

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computers every day.

Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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